Big philanthropy is having something of a moment. There is the Giving Pledge, the promise made by more than a hundred of the United States’ wealthiest citizens, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to give the vast majority of their fortunes to charity. Then there is the related “giving while living” movement, whose best known proponent is Charles Feeney, now 86, who has given away almost the entirety of his multi-billion dollar fortune during his lifetime.
Some, though, are cautious about these donations’ ultimate effects. There’s an argument that no matter how well intentioned, the scale of the money being directed toward philanthropic efforts by the wealthiest Americans is further contributing to an unequal balance of power in society, even as